Mansion Hopping in the Hudson Valley

 Inside Vanderbilt Mansion
 The back end of Mills Mansion at Sunset
 View of the Catskills and the Hudson from the Vanderbilt
  Formal Italian Gardens at Vanderbilt
More of the Gardens

With the busyness of the holiday season, my adventures have been cut short. I managed to get a few nice walks in however, and some historical sightseeing to boot.

The Hudson Valley is rich with the treasures of historical mansions. Olana, The Thomas Cole House, Clermont, Montgomery Place, Vanderbilt, Wilderstein, The Roosevelt Estate, Mills Mansion. And that are only the ones in a one hour radius from my Kingston home.

Because my adventure friend is over 62, she has a National Parks Pass which can be obtained at any National site for 10.00. That gets you into the Federal parks for free, such as some of the Cape Cod beaches, and other parks around the country - and up to three other guests I believe FOR FREE. So, in the spirit of saving and not spending, we opted for Vanderbilt Mansion which is a Federal site (which also means you can take photos anywhere in the house!) The second adventure was to Mills Mansion aka Staatsburg Mansion, which is a state site,  where we could not use the Parks Pass, AND, no interior photography allowed.  Senior admission  6.00, other adult 8.00. Admission gets you inside the mansion, as well as use of acres and acres of grounds.

Each mansion has its own stories, and was decorated for the holidays. Vanderbilt had a fabulous tour guide, and Mills was a self guided tour (which I like) with tons of volunteers stationed throughout the mansion. The Mills mansion also offers several special events where you can have a themed tea in the grand dining room on Sundays!

The grounds contain paths to wander that have views of the Hudson River, and Vanderbilt has a formal Italian garden, which even in winter is beautiful to walk through. They both have lovely gift shops, which is one of the places that I go to do some holiday shopping. Our purchases help support these stately examples of the Gilded Age.

I am hoping to visit a few of the other mansions over the next week or two, although I don't know how long they keep up their decorations. I suspect with the New Year, they strip it down, and some close until the spring.  Some of the sites charge for parking, some have free parking, with free use of the grounds, most charge for a visit inside the mansion.

I have a real affinity for the history, art and architecture of these places, and know that somehow these places will play an important place in my life, though I have not figured that out yet!


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